After putting out a press release, taking out an advert in your local paper, and telling your core customers in person, what else can be done to get bodies through the door and bums on seats? Kimberley Hornby, Managing Director of Hornby Whitefoot PR, takes us through some key points on using Twitter to drive publicity and attract a wider audience to your garden centre’s event.
- Timing is everything. All events are different, but the most successful ones manage to build up a frenzy of interest over a period of time. Always work backwards from the event – the day before, week leading up to that, the month before and so on. Twitter is the ideal medium to drip-feed information, so do just that. You may have sent out a release or published a blog with the full line up or itinerary for example, but with Twitter you can break it all down into chunks, tease out each point and more accurately target audiences outside of your core garden centre customers.
- Use a hashtag Create a unique hashtag – and use it on each tweet to save you from wasting characters on the event name/main details. Also make it visible on your marketing materials, in store, on posters and especially at the event itself. Perhaps you’re having a music event – find a creative way of making the hashtag part of the stage design without confusing customers that don’t use Twitter.
- Create a ‘tweet wall’ – you may have already seen this at other events, whereby a projected display shows tweets from attendees, exclaiming how excited they are to be there, what they thought of the speaker/acts they had just seen, their favourite stalls, etc. You can set up a tweet wall easily, either via a professional service such as TwitterBeam or a basic free version such as the Hootsuite ‘hootfeed’ (hootsuite.com/hootfeed). Fully customise your scrolling display by ensuring your feed shows only your chosen hashtag, retweets from your account, and of course filter negative chat and bad language!
- Get influencers to help promote your event. Perhaps you have a band performing, a speaker or celebrity guest – whoever it is, they will not want to play to an empty crowd – so don’t be afraid to ask them to get involved. You can also simply tweet at your guest using their Twitter handle, making it easy for them to respond. Perhaps you know of celebrities, experts, or organisations linked to your event who are based in the local area – instead of emailing or calling, try tweeting and open up a public dialogue.
- Measuring your success – like any PR or Marketing campaign, you could just look around the room to see how many faces you don’t recognise. Or, you could analyse how well your Twitter campaign performed by looking at the analytics. For this, you don’t need to employ the services of a third party or learn how to use a new app, just use Twitter’s own ‘analytics’ tool. Here you will find data such as the number and percentage increase/decrease of retweets, followers and likes, mentions, profile visits you can even see what the most popular tweet was during the build up to the event, and how many of your users’ feeds your tweets appeared on (your reach, measured in ‘tweet impressions’). And even if you can’t compare these figures with a previous event, you will find the information can certainly help you evaluate what kind of message or content works with your Twitter audience – and what doesn’t.
Top twitter tips for events
- Thank your attendees and performers after the event to generate further engagement and publicity
- Improve your website’s SEO by referring traffic to your blog post on the event
- Images are essential to catch the eye – but as the event hasn’t happened, you may need to use either generic shots from last year, or illustrations, logos and stock images from bands/companies/organisations booked to appear
- Tweet quotes and images from acts/speakers during the event to not only engage your online audience but also the performers and their fans too
- Provide useful updates and up to date alterations so that your followers come to rely on your Tweets for useful information – rather than just marketing messages
- Find local Twitter influencers/bloggers who may be interested in reviewing your event – they will help provide a running commentary if you don’t have time
- Don’t forget traditional media use Twitter too – tweet to your local TV/radio station, newspaper